– When nine-year-old Nikko first attended counseling at The Shelter, he came in with his head down. He did not make eye contact and barely spoke. He is a skilled artist and each week, he created clay figures. Little by little, he began to talk as he formed the figures.

Nikko had never known peace in his short life. He witnessed his father’s violence against his mother nearly every day. When he was eight, his father told him his mother no longer wanted him and took him to another country. His father later agreed to return, if Nikko’s mother met all of his demands. The abuse continued and, with the help of friends, Nikko and his mother found safety at The Shelter.

During counseling, a new Nikko began to emerge from the clay. He talked about the bad dreams he had almost every night. After months of work, he began to smile and even laugh, holding his head up rather than down. His advocate recalls her moment of surprise, when Nikko held up a clay figure and said, “We are happy now!”